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Old 05-07-2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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Default 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system
http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...-nfl-practices
About Scott Brown
Tribune-Review Steelers beat reporter Scott Brown can be reached via e-mail or at 412-481-5432.
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What’s on tap

The Steelers start offseason practices later this month. Here is their schedule:

Organized Team Activities
(not mandatory)

• May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-7

Minicamp (mandatory)

• June 12-14

By Scott Brown
Tribune-Review

Published: Monday, May 7, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Updated 8 hours ago

Sean Spence grew up in Miami, but the Steelers were always his favorite NFL team. As such, he needed anything but a history lesson after the team issued him No. 51 last week.

“I understand James Farrior wore this number,” Spence said. “He’s a great linebacker, but I’m not James Farrior. The things he did I may not be able to do.”

Comparisons to Farrior, who was released earlier this year, are more than just premature, and that explains why Spence was one of the Steelers’ more curious draft picks.

The former Miami Hurricanes standout is not playing Farrior’s old position, and his selection didn’t address a glaring short- or long-term need. But as Hurricanes defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said: “I think the Steelers looked at it and thought they were getting a good football player. I think he’ll be a good fit.”

The question is where.

The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Spence is a bit undersized by NFL standards, and he is slated to play behind Lawrence Timmons at right inside linebacker.

Nothing is assured next season beyond extensive special teams duty, and that is assuming Spence makes a successful transition from the ACC to the AFC North. Spence’s athletic ability and aptitude suggests he could emerge as a key contributor in various sub-packages, including the Steelers’ nickel defense.

Spence, an outside linebacker at Miami, has plenty of experience dropping into coverage. Spence also proved to be a quick study at Miami, partly out of necessity.

He played for three defensive coordinators in four seasons, but that didn’t stop Spence from leaving Miami as one of only six linebackers to record consecutive 100-tackle seasons.

“He learned what the other guys on the field were supposed to do as well (as his own position),” said D’Onofrio, who coached Spence his senior season. “He’s a great kid. Always has a good attitude, a smile on his face.”

Spence, who took part in rookie minicamp over the weekend, shrugged off questions about whether he is big enough to play inside in the NFL. One factor that suggests it won’t be much of an issue is the way the game has changed.

“A lot of stuff today is misdirection and trying to fool you or outnumber you one way and then give you a different look coming back the other way,” Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said. “A lot of that requires the ability to read from the linebackers, not so much to get down and stuff a hole. Sometimes, you have to do it on the goal line when you have to take on a big running back. But we’re taking on Ray Rice; we’re not taking on Jerome Bettis anymore.”

Spence has taken on something as daunting as Rice, the Baltimore Ravens’ Pro Bowl running back, and that is a new playbook.

Spence has a couple of weeks to immerse himself in it before the start of offseason practices. The minicamp that concluded yesterday should help Spence when he returns to Pittsburgh later this month for practices that will include more than just rookies and first-year players.

“I think it’s a huge advantage,” he said. “You don’t want to come out here looking like a lost child in front of the vets and be embarrassed.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Steelers Sign 3rd Round Draft Pick Sean Spence

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly come to terms with third round draft pick Sean Spence on Tuesday according to Pro Football Talk. The deal for Spence is a four-year deal per the norm and should come in at a total of around $2.6 million and include a signing bonus just over $500,000. His base salaries should be $390,000, $480,000, $570,000 and $660,000.

The signing of Spence now means that the Steelers have eight of their nine draft picks now under contract with first round draft pick David DeCastro being the only pick not yet signed. As I pointed out this past weekend, the DeCastro deal should be right around the corner now that the New England Patriots signed the 21st overall pick, Chandler Jones.

Spence, an outside linebacker while at the University of Miami, will contribute initially on special teams for the Steelers, and according to linebackers coach Keith Butler, he will back up Lawrence Timmons at the MACK linebacker position.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/05...k-sean-spence/
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Starting A Rookie In The Middle: Can You Handle The Sus-Spence?

Monday, June 11th, 2012 by Jeremy Hritz

Back in March, the Steelers brass were out in full force at the University of Miami Pro Day. In attendance were Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Keith Butler. While it was uncertain at the time which player they were targeting, it has now become clear that linebacker Sean Spence was their focus.

This past week, both legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau along with linebackers coach Butler offered some very high praise for the rookie for his efforts in OTAs.

LeBeau stated, “I do like our draft choice. He's done everything any first-year player could do in coaching sessions without pads. I think we're in the right direction there.” However, the comments made by Butler were the most intriguing: “I wouldn’t say he’s not going to play. The fact of the matter is, since I’ve been here we’ve never had a rookie play or start for us as a rookie.” While Butler did not come out and say that Spence would be a starter at one of the inside linebacker positions, the fact that he is acknowledging that possibility speaks volumes about their belief in his ability and potential.

The 3-4 defense of LeBeau is often characterized as being overwhelmingly difficult for young players to understand and learn, yet Spence, according to his coaches, is showing a proficiency in picking up the complex schemes and concepts. Butler commented on Spence’s football intelligence and called him a “very sharp young man” and that “he is picking up our system as well as anybody at this point.”

Spence could be the exception to the Steelers unspoken rule that linebackers sit a few years before assuming a starting role. The last player to start as a linebacker for the Steelers in his first year was Kendrell Bell in 2001. Bell was selected in the second round from Georgia and went on to earn NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors while playing under then defensive coordinator Tim Lewis. While training camp has not started, and coaches have not seen Spence in full contact yet, his success at Miami and his quick study at OTAs have been noticed to the point where his name and the word “start” are being used in the same sentence. Spence proved to be disruptive at Miami where he collected 47 tackles for loss in addition to 10.5 sacks. This would be a welcomed force in the middle for the Steelers defense.

The safe assumption is that Spence will be a role player this upcoming season. However, if he continues to impress his coaches moving forward as he has already done, there could be a chance for Spence to work his way into the starting line-up at some point this season. If he does develop to that extent, it would be exciting to see how his athleticism would enhance an already formidable linebacker corps.

The Steelers defense will be younger this year, and with Spence now having a chance to earn a starting spot at some point, it could get even younger. While a single game has yet to be played in the 2012 season, there is buzz-a-plenty surrounding several of the Steelers draft picks. Will Spence join the company of David DeCastro and Mike Adams and be penciled in as a starter for the new season? Time will tell the story the closer we get to training camp when we truly get to see what the draft class of 2012 is all about.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/06...he-sus-spence/
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Are any of the posters on Steelersdepot.com any kind of actual reporter with media accreditation?? Or, are they just bloggers sitting in their mom's basement like most of the posters on this forum?

Full disclosure---I am the homeowner of my residence and internet connection.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

No, but "actual reporters with media accreditation" use Dave Bryan's research from time to time, so what does that say? Steelers Depot is Bryan's site, and he lets a few other writers post their own commentary from time to time without censorship. Doesn't mean he agrees with what they write. He just wrote an article about the scenario that led to Kendrell Bell starting and why the chances of Spence starting are almost nonexistent.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Don't know about bloggers, but I liked this pick ever since day one. I just feel this kid has a "chip on his shoulder" and wants to prove to the world what a great player is in that smaller than usual body. All I have ever read about him is how instinctive he is, and that kind of quality can overcome many shortcomings.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

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Originally Posted by Ricco Suavez View Post
Don't know about bloggers, but I liked this pick ever since day one. I just feel this kid has a "chip on his shoulder" and wants to prove to the world what a great player is in that smaller than usual body. All I have ever read about him is how instinctive he is, and that kind of quality can overcome many shortcomings.
I am just curious as to any of these bloggers backgrounds and the fact that many don't have to back up anything they write, but rather just state their opinions as some kind of legitimate information or reporting. A guy can start up a site and base it on opinion and recycled twitter info, then pass it off as credible first hand reporting.

As for Spence, all he does is tackle and move towards the football. Probably one of the best looking football IQ LB's on tape in the draft this year. His lack of size probably puts him at weakside ILB and we may see Timmons move to strong side in 2013 or later.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
As for Spence, all he does is tackle and move towards the football. Probably one of the best looking football IQ LB's on tape in the draft this year. His lack of size probably puts him at weakside ILB and we may see Timmons move to strong side in 2013 or later.
yeah that's the first thing I noticed about spence when watching him play. Most defenders seem to wait for the play to come to them, but spence is always moving toward the ball and attacking the play. He's also rarely ever fooled by play action or misdirections, some of the best instincts I've seen from a linebacker in a long time. he can be something special in the future.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Are any of the posters on Steelersdepot.com any kind of actual reporter with media accreditation?? Or, are they just bloggers sitting in their mom's basement like most of the posters on this forum?

Full disclosure---I am the homeowner of my residence and internet connection.
probably the latter, but you can't deny that the people at steelersdepot do their homework though.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: 3rd-rounder Spence eager to soak in Steelers’ system

Looking Back At The Circumstances That Led To Kendrell Bell Starting As A Rookie

Monday, June 11th, 2012 by Dave Bryan


The excitement about third round draft pick Sean Spence is back in full swing after the comments made by Kevin Colbert, Dick LeBeau and Keith Butler following the OTA sessions that wrapped up last week. While it is great that the rookie seems to be picking things up so fast, it is pretty close to being out of the question that he will start alongside Lawrence Timmons when the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field against the Denver Broncos in week one.

Jeremy Hritz hit it on the head today when he posted that Spence will most likely serve as a special teams player first and foremost and a role player as they season progresses. Is it out of the question that he starts later on in the season? I would say no, but it all depends on how Larry Foote plays and if Stevenson Sylvester can make the jump in his third season.

While it is easy to point back to several years ago when Kendrell Bell did the unthinkable by starting week one after being drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft out of Georgia, the circumstances that led to that were a little different as Bell really didn't have any competition.

When the Steelers took the field for their final regular season game of the 2000 season against the San Diego Chargers, Levon Kirkland was the strong-inside linebacker and Earl Holmes was the weak-side inside linebacker. During the off-season that followed, Kirkland was released prior to the draft and the Steelers signed veteran free agent linebacker Mike Jones with hopes that he could assume the weak-side starting spot with Holmes shifting over to the strong-side.

The depth at that time inside for the Steelers was pretty much nonexistent as versatile linebacker Mike Vrabel had left to sign with the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent and John Fiala was mostly regarded as a special teams player. Everyone knew that the Steelers had to address the inside linebacker position in the 2001 draft and many in the organization were praying that Dan Morgan out of Miami would fall to the Steelers at the 16 spot. When the Carolina Panthers selected Morgan with the 11th overall selection, the Steelers traded down three spots with the New York Jets and drafted nose tackle Casey Hampton. In the second round is when they got their inside linebacker in the form of Bell.

Coming out of the 2001 draft the Steelers had a first year aging veteran on their team in Jones and the rookie Bell, who like Spence this year, really excelled early on. When the Steelers played the Atlanta Falcons in their first preseason game, Jones started alongside Holmes, but it was Bell that stole the show that night in relief with his two sacks and six tackles, one of which was for a loss, against the Falcons. Bell also added a tackle on special teams and was always one of the first players down field on the punt team. If you remember that game, you remember that Bell was the best player on the field that night.

Tim Lewis, the Steelers defensive coordinator at the time, had glowing comments about Bell after that game. "He's very explosive," Lewis said. "Did you see his sacks the other night? He was blocked by two guys on one and still made the play. It's almost like he doesn't know he's being blocked. He just runs right through. It's real interesting to see his power."

Lewis was not the only one to praise the play that night of Bell as head coach Bill Cowher was not shy with his praise of the rookie either. "I thought Kendrell Bell played exceptional," said Cowher. "I said it even before Friday night. The one thing you'll see about the kid can is that he can tackle."

Bell would go on to outplay Jones the rest of the preseason and even started the final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills alongside Holmes. It was an easy decision for the coaching staff to make because the only player on the roster that Bell had to beat out was Jones and he did so easily.

With Spence being regarded as a weak-side guy himself initially by the organization, and behind Timmons on the depth chart, you can see the difference in the two situations. Baring an injury, Foote will be the strong-side starting inside linebacker in week one against the Broncos with Timmons beside him. The Steelers have depth and experience inside when you throw Sylvester into the mix and this creates a much different set of circumstances than Bell faced as a rookie. For Spence to start week one, it would mean Timmons has been moved over to the strong-side because Foote is either injured or ineffective and it would also mean that organization does not think that Sylvester can play.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/ar...ookie/10989578
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